A Picture of God’s Love – Devotional Series
A PICTURE OF GOD’S LOVE
Zephaniah 3:14-17 – “Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
Daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, He has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
These words were written by the prophet giving hope to a disobedient nation. The name “Zephaniah” means “Jehovah hides/protects” and describes God’s ministry of protection for faithful people when the day of His anger arrives. Zephaniah 3:17 gives us a picture of God’s love for us – “The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” It’s a verse full of promises.
THE PROMISE OF GOD’S PRESENCE
“The LORD your God is with you” Many times in life, we feel like we’re drowning or being burned alive, not literally, but by circumstances that seem to be more than we can handle – sickness, job loss, relationship problems, financial troubles and so on. We may wonder if anyone cares about us or our situation. Throughout His Word, God promises that we are never alone. He even named His Son Immanuel (God With Us) to remind us that He is with us and will never leave us. Two of God’s promises of His presence:
Joshua 1:5 – “As I was with Moses so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Genesis 16:7-14 records Hagar’s conversation with the angel of the LORD after she ran away from Abram and Sarai. Verse 13 says, “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’ Our heavenly Father sees us at all times & He’ll never desert us!
THE PROMISE OF GOD’S SALVATION
“He is mighty to save” In Exodus 14,we read that Pharaoh allowed Moses & the Israelites to leave Egypt, then changed his mind and pursued them with his horses and chariots. The Israelites panicked and accused Moses of bringing them to the desert to die. “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Moses’ response: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm, and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today…The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” God parted the Red Sea so Moses and the people could cross on dry land. Every day, all day, God provides physical salvation for us in ways we don’t know about. However, He’s more interested in giving spiritual salvation. He sent His Son so we could be saved from eternal separation from Him. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God is mighty to save us from the Evil One who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus didn’t come to make our circumstances comfortable. Jesus didn’t simply come to save us from the punishment of sin! He came to save us from sin so that we could be satisfied with His presence.
THE PROMISE OF GOD’S DELIGHT
“He will take great delight in you” Think about that for a minute – the Creator of the universe takes great delight in YOU!! According to Psalm 17:8, you are the apple of God’s eye? Psalm 17:8 – “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.” The phrase “apple of my eye”refers to something or someone that is cherished above all others. Someone has said that if God had a refrigerator, our picture would be on it. In Isaiah 49:15 & 16, God Himself said, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” That’s even better than a picture on a refrigerator! Satan wants us to believe that God is mad at us and wants to punish us. The opposite is true. In spite of our imperfection, mistakes, disobedience, we are the apple of God’s eye, engraved on His hands. He takes great delight in us.
THE PROMISE OF GOD’S PEACE
“He will quiet you with His love” Life is full of turmoil and confusion, like a storm on the sea. God wants to say “Peace, be still” to our lives, just like Jesus said it to the wind and waves. God wants us to experience His shalom – wholeness, completeness, health, security, quietness of soul.
Psalm 23:2 & 3 – “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Matthew 11:28 – “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
The prophet Jeremiah preached at the same time as Zechariah, and Jeremiah 31 is part of a love song from God to the nation of Israel. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” Loving-kindness refers to the Hebrew word “hesed” – God’s unconditional, indescribable love of God that can’t be earned. It can only be received. God’s love will quiet the internal storms we experience.
THE PROMISE OF GOD’S SINGING
“He will rejoice over you with singing” Many parents sing and pray over their children as they sleep. Our Father God sings over us. A very different picture of God. He’s not an ogre striking people with lightning bolts. He’s a loving Father Who enjoys His children and longs for us to dwell in His presence. In Philippians 4:4, Paul tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” While we’re rejoicing in the Lord, He’s rejoicing over us. Job 1:8 says God rejoiced over Job to Satan: “Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”Satan attacks us in order to disrupt our lives and give God reason not to rejoice over us.
“The LORD, your God, is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” As we cling to God’s presence, salvation and peace, we experience victory over the Evil One, and God continues to take delight in and rejoice over us.
“The Love of God” by Frederick M. Lehman
The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win.
His erring child, He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.
Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole if stretched from sky to sky.
O love of God, how rich and pure, how measureless and strong.
It shall forever endure the saints’ and angels’ songs.
Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians is God’s desire for each of us: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY
written by Major Lydia Pearson, Education Department, USA East